logging

DeRIDDER, La. - A Canadian-based lumber products company is making its first investment in Louisiana, bringing a $160 million mill to Beauregard Parish, state officials said.

Canfor Corp. expects to hire 130 people with average annual salaries of $59,921 plus benefits, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release.

The sawmill project will be built on a site at the Beauregard Regional Airport, which is near DeRidder, and is expected to support 175 construction jobs.

“Agribusiness remains one of our key industries for growing Louisiana’s economy, and our state offers unique advantages that attracted Canfor here,” Edwards said. “This major new manufacturing project can resonate across the region’s economy in a variety of ways. We welcome plans for this foreign direct investment in Louisiana by this industry leader, and we look forward to the good jobs this project is expected to create in Beauregard Parish for the region’s skilled workforce.”

Plans for the lumber mill include processing yellow pine trees from Louisiana forests to create various wood products from lumber to paper and pulp. Operations are expected to begin by the end of third-quarter 2022.

The facility will have an annual production capacity of 250 million board feet.

Tony Sheffield

Tony Sheffield, President of Canfor Southern Pine

The project is the company’s first “greenfield” or ground-up construction lumber mill. The company was attracted to the area for its supply of pine forests and labor force with a long tenure in wood products manufacturing sector.

“The significant incentives and support we are receiving from the state of Louisiana are helping to make this project possible,” Tony Sheffield, president of Canfor Southern Pine, said in a news release.

To secure the project, the state offered an incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $1.5 million, subject to the company reaching specified investment and payroll benchmarks.

The project would be the “largest initial investment in Beauregard Parish’s history,” said Mike Harper, president of the parish police jury. “This commitment promises a bright future for hundreds of families of this parish and region.”

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